Summary of Events Related to Human Rights in Vietnam - Since January 1,
Jan 4: Lieut. Gen. Tran Do, a VCP member of 58 years and former head of
Committee on Culture and Ideology, was stripped of his communist party
membership ahead of the party plenum. This measure was taken as a
consequence of his open criticism, through his series of writings since
late 1997, of the VCP for its self-serving agenda, its cumbersome
government and its oppressive security apparatus.
Jan 7: Amnesty International released a report on Vietnam, criticizing
its political repression. Though its release of 13 prisoners of
conscience in Sept. 98 was welcomed, it is strongly urged to respect the
expression of political and religious beliefs.
Jan 10: Prof. Doan Viet Hoat, a former political prisoner well known
around the world, went on a tour of Europe to work with government and
non-government organizations on behalf of freedom and democracy in
Jan 19: International press reported that local government for joining
Protestant churches had intimidated Hmong villagers in the northern
highland of Vietnam. A letter written by 40 Hmong's in the village of Ha
Giang, representing 300 highlanders, complained of intimidation and
threat of imprisonment and torture by local authorities. The report
claimed there are about 150,000 Hmong Protestants whose 30 leaders are
Feb 2: Mr. Ha Si Phu (a.k.a. Nguyen Xuan Tu), a political dissident, and
his family were reportedly harassed by VCP in Da Lat, Vietnam.
Feb 10: Large crowds of Vietnamese gathered to protest the hanging of Ho
Chi Minh's portrait and VCP flag inside a video store by businessman
Tran V. Truong. The protests continued for nearly two months, focusing
on continual abuses of human rights by the VCP. Many VN overseas youth
organizations from all over the world joined in protests against the
human rights violations by the VCP.
Feb 13: VCP Gen. Le Hong Son protested the ouster of Gen. Tran Do,
calling the Vietnam party-centered government too cumbersome and
negligent in responding to the needs of the population. Mr. Hoang Huu
Nhan, former minister of Heavy Industry, also made public his protest of
Gen. Tran Do's ouster and the lack of achievements by the communist
Feb 15: Reader's Digest interviewed Ms. Duong Thu Huong, a freelance
writer in Hanoi, for her dissenting views with the communist party. Ms.
Huong, who was a proletariat party member and ex combatant, has
published numerous works accusing the VCP for systematically exploiting
and oppressing the people of Vietnam for its own selfish interests.
Feb 20: Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, UN Special Rapporteur on Religious
Intolerance, issued his official report accusing the government of
Vietnam of severely restricting religious activities and harassment and
imprisonment of religious leaders. Mr. Amor complained that VN
government had repeatedly tried to obstruct and interfere with his
visits to various religious leaders in and outside of prisons.
Feb 26: US State Dept. released a report on human rights abuses in
Vietnam, stated that the Vietnam government's human rights record
remained poor; although there was measurable improvement in a few areas,
serious problems remain. The Vietnam government continued to repress
basic political and some religious freedoms and commit numerous abuses.
Mar 4: Dr. Nguyen Thanh Giang, 63, a dissident geophysicist, was
arrested and imprisoned for having anti-communist materials, as claimed
by the VCP. Prior to his arrest, security police visited these other
dissidents and warned them of further crack downs: Hoang Minh Chinh of
the Marxism-Leninism Institute, writer Hoang Tien, journalist Vu Huy
Cuong, political analyst Nguyen Kien Giang, and Hoang Huu Nhan, former
party secretary of city Hai Phong.
Mar 23: Ven Thich Quang Do, 72, Secretary General of the Unified
Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), was arrested and harassed when
visiting Ven. Thich Huyen Quang, 81, being under house arrest in the
district of Nghia Hanh, province of Quang Ngai.
Mar 25: US organizations started a drive to have Prof. Doan Viet Hoat
honored by US Congress for his struggle for Human Rights in Vietnam. The
resolution was sponsored by four US Representatives Mr. Thomas M. Davis
III (R-11/VA), Ms. Zoe Lofgren (D-16/CA), Ms. Loretta L. Sanchez
(D-46/CA), and Mr. Christoper H. Smith (R-4/NJ).
April 2: Hanoi's Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, during a trade conference
in Melbourne, was confronted by Vietnamese and Australians with
accusations of human rights abuses. He was demanded by the Unified
Buddhist Church in Australia (UBCA) to release from prison monks like
Ven's Thich Thien Minh and Thich Hue Quang, and from house confinement
of Ven. Thich Huyen Quang in Nghia Hanh, province of Quang Ngai that
began in 1982. UBCA also protested the harassment of UBCV's Secretary
General Ven. Thich Quang Do by VN police.
April 7: Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, a famous VN dissident and ex-political
prisoner, met with US congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (Garden Grove, CA)
in Saigon. He predicted that VN would have freedom and democracy within
5 to 10 years. He appealed for vigorous intervention by the American
people and government to protect human rights in VN.
April 8: Ven. Thich Quang Do, 72, Secretary General of UBCV, calls for
democracy for VN and cautioned the international organizations against
sending unconditional aids to VN, which will only reinforce the
oppressive communist regime. Ven. Do had been sentenced to 5 years for
sending aid reliefs to flood victim in 1994.
April 9: Le Van Bang, VN ambassador to the US, was confronted with human
rights issues by the Vietnamese community in Austin, Texas, during his
investment promotion with other ASEAN members, who suggested that
economic must accompany social and political reforms.
April 14: Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, in an interview with the South China
Morning Post, claimed to personally know over 100 other political
prisoners are being kept in various prisons. Dr. Que recalled horrible
physical and mental tortures carried out routinely against dissidents by
the communist jailers.
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